The final tallies have been released: Continental Airlines' fledgling summer flight between Houston and Yampa Valley Regional Airport carried 3,013 arriving passengers between June 9 and Sept. 7.
Records on file with Routt County show that the 50-passenger jet flew 89 arriving flights, representing 4,450 seats. On average, they were 67 percent full.
The flights were 70 percent full on average in July and August. Load factors on seasonal flights such as the service between the Yampa Valley and Houston always suffer a little at the very beginning and end of the service -- very few passengers arrived in the last few days in September, for example, because they would not have had return service.
The resort community, which provided flight guarantees for the summer jet service, is waiting for Continental to provide information about the cities where passengers on the Houston flight began their trip.
Routt County, working with the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association and the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., has begun planning to extend summer flights through autumn for the next three years. Routt County was awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in September to help it secure summer and fall service from a hub city beyond Colorado.
"This is one of the best examples I'm aware of of the private and public sectors working together," Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said last month. "It's the result of three years of working together."
Local officials are confident that creating competition in the market for Mesa Airlines' (United Express) service to Denver results in lower fares for consumers.
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